The Kuala Lumpur New Straits Times has a report on the performance of Malaysian universities on the latest THES-QS rankings
Malaysian universities are on a slippery slope. None of them made it to the top 200 placing in the Times Higher Education Supplement (THES)-Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings this year.
This poor showing comes on the back of a recent government survey of local public universities which found that none deserved a place in the outstanding category. Last year, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia and Universiti Malaya made it to the top 200 in the THES-QS rankings. UKM ranked 185th, up from the 289th spot in 2005, beating well-known universities like University of Minnesota in the United States and University of Reading, Britain. This year, it has fallen to 309th. Similarly UM, which was ranked among the world's top 100 universities three years ago, was in 169th position in 2005 and tied with University of Reading in the 192nd spot last
year. It has dropped to the 246th spot. Universiti Sains Malaysia has fallen
to 307 from 277 last year.
UKM and UM vice-chancellors attributed their fall to the new methodology used to calculate rankings this year."Even the National University of Singapore (NUS) has dropped to the 33rd spot when it was always within the top 10," Universiti Malaya vice-chancellor Datuk Rafiah Salim said."The way I look at it, smaller countries like Malaysia are bound to lose out as THES has introduced new criteria which is peer review and has changed the citation and list of publications."Rafiah said with more
than 3,000 universities getting ranked by THES annually, Malaysian
universities had to improve if they wanted to remain on top of the list."If
we want to compete with some of the top universities in the world, first we
have to be in the same league. "Right now, we are not. One way to overcome
that is through adequate funding."She said NUS received an annual funding of
S$1.2 billion (RM2.7 billion) a year compared to UM's RM400 million annual
There is no mention of Universiti Putra Malaysia or Universiti Teknologi Malaysia both of which were on the list of universities sent out by QS this year.
It is impossible to be sure until the full data is released but I suspect that the "decline" of Malaysian universities has nothing to do with any real change but with QS preventing survey respondents from voting for their own institutions this year.